A week or two ago I wrote a column about my advice for those going to rAge this year, despite the fact that I’ve never actually been myself.
Well, after spending the last three days at the Coca-Cola dome I’ve put that shameful title aside, and now consider myself an expert on the subject. Okay that may be a tad extreme, but modesty clearly isn’t in my wheelhouse.
Coming in to rAge with an open mind and not knowing what exactly to expect, I wanted to write my final rAge article on what I took away from the experience.
4. Cosplayers deserve our respect
I’ve always kept cosplay at arm’s length, watching from a distance. I’ve never really quite understood why exactly people do it; what they get out of it.
I think it’s easy to dismiss this particular subculture, people dressing up in outrageous outfits and walking around in public spaces is something a lot of us might find hard to relate to.
But after three days of being around them, talking to them and seeing them in action, I’ve developed a real respect for what they do. The cosplayers at rAge this year were impressive, seriously impressive. Part of the culture is that you usually design and make your own outfits, which can take literally months of work. Hell, look at this Drow Ranger:
It takes a lot of work to spend the whole day on your feet, taking pictures, smiling and for some, staying in character. I was exhausted after every day at rAge, and my days weren’t nearly as long as theirs.
You could argue that they do it because they want to, they do it for themselves, but then you’d be missing the point. The cosplayers brought a little joy to everyone that attended rAge this year; whether you were taking photos with them (which they literally never refused) or just walking around the expo and seeing an awesome personification of your favourite video game, you couldn’t help but smile and appreciate the effort. Seeing a dude in a full Deadpool outfit perched on a stool and playing Roxy’s Quest was one of the funniest things I saw all weekend.
The cosplayers all added an extra layer of fun and a lot of laughs to my rAge experience, so thank you very much to every one of you.
3. Nerd culture is alive and well
When you grow up playing video games (before they were as commonplace as they are now) and dismantling computers, you’re kind of used to being in the minority. As gamers, nerds, geeks, whatever, we’re a traditionally smaller and less popular subculture, making friends with similar interests but perhaps feeling like you don’t quite fit in with the masses.
Walking into the rAge expo, you quickly realise that we’re not going anywhere. The floor was packed wall-to-wall with people playing board games and TCGs, buying comic books and figurines, cosplaying, sporting video game merchandise, lining up for ages to play the latest consoles or crowding around to get a glimpse of an upcoming title.
And let’s not forget the whole area is encircled by a balcony of gamers who’ve spent the last 48 hours sleeping under tables or not sleeping at all while they participate in the biggest gaming event of the year.
It’s awesome to be in a place that’s exclusively things you like and people just like you; for gamers that doesn’t happen often.
2. Your money isn’t safe
I spent most of my time at rAge feeling like an alcoholic in a bottle store. Everywhere you look are awesome things you want to buy at reduced prices.
Seriously, if you’re into technology/games/comics/games you’ll find a stand at rAge that has more variety than anywhere else, at a cheaper price than anywhere else.
Luckily for me, I’m broke, so my money resided safely in non-existence.
1. The people are awesome
rAge might be the easiest place in the world to make friends, and I’d really advise you to not be afraid to go alone. Standing in line, watching the DGL matches or visiting one of the booths, strike up a conversation with the person next to you.
Every day at the expo I made a new friend. You get into a conversation with someone, start discussing a game or other shared interest, then you just kind of hang out for a couple of hours.
Special shoutouts to the GTA V guys I met at the LAN and mentioned in yesterday’s “Into The Belly Of The Beast”, and Jonathan and Josh of SA Ping 220 who kept me company during the League of Legends Finals and offered their insights.
rAge is full of these moments; whether you just share a laugh with a random stranger, a ten minute conversation with a passionate developer or having lunch with someone you just met that day, there are so many people just like you who you can click with an instant.
Even though I was working, I had a blast at rAge. I’m taking away so many awesome memories and experiences, and if you couldn’t make it this year I urge you to try your best to do so next year.
Perhaps we’ll meet in the line for mini-doughnuts (which are, incidentally, the 5th thing I learnt at rAge).